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Nigiri sushi is easy to make by hand, as molding a little rectangle-shaped mound of rice isn't that hard. Just be sure to wet your hands to keep the rice from sticking to you. I use a mold purely for convenience (and because I bought the darn thing, so I should use it!).

Different toppings I've tried and liked: tamago, crabstick, spam, unagi, salmon, and tuna. If you include nigiri using raw fish in your bento, be sure to refrigerate so that the fish doesn't spoil. Just take the sushi out of the fridge about half an hour prior to eating so that everything can warm up to room temperature (and the rice can soften as it often hardens when refrigerated).

(Click pictures to enlarge)
[workspace with salmon, nori, rice, mold, knife, wasabi]
My workspace ready to go: cutting board, perfect sushi rice, salmon cut into strips using the best sushi knife ever, strips of nori, hunk of wasabi, and a nigiri mold.
First wet the rice mold and fill it with rice. You don't have to pack it in. Just make sure that it is filled to the top. You can then wet your fingers and spread the rice so that it is distributed more evenly (or use your rice paddle to do this).
[pressing lid of mold onto rice]
Wet the lid of the mold, then use it to press the rice into shape. My mold has a built in "stop" so that you can't press it beyond a certain point. If you don't have a stop, just apply even pressure and press about 1/3"-1/2" downwards.
[pressed rice still in mold]
Lift off the lid of the mold and gaze at the molded rice.
Flip the rice mold over, then gently press through the openings to slide the molded rice out.
If you like, you can reshape the rice. What is the point of using a mold if you're just going to reshape it, you ask? I am just weird. I like my nigiri in a particular shape, but using the mold ensures that the nigiri all will be the same size.
Smear some wasabi on the rice balls. Sushi restaurants usually just put a little wad right in the middle, but I like to spread mine out a bit more.
Lay a strip of nori with the shiny side facing downwards. Place a slice of salmon (or other topping) on top and a riceball on top of the salmon (with the wasabi side pressed to the salmon).
Wrap one side of the nori over the rice and stick it to the bottom of the rice ball. Trim off the excess.
Wrap the other side of the nori over the bottom of the rice ball, overlapping the nori across the bottom, then trim off the excess.
[finished salmon nigiri sushi] Flip it over, and you've got yourself a cute little nigiri that's ready to eat!


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